5-15-16 / Javier’s / Las Vegas, NV

Sunday for lunch we went to In N Out Burger  around the corner from our hotel. Unfortunately, I demolished my double double with tomato, mustard, and fried onions with animal style fries before I could think to take a picture. I’m just glad there aren’t any close locations, not that I would make it a regular thing, but it could be very, very dangerous on certain occasions.

 

Sunday night we found ourselves in a difficult position. It was late (around 10:30) and it was Sunday night. Baffling as it seems, places in Vegas (especially restaurants of worth) close on Sunday nights. We found our options limited, but luckily the list I’d prepared beforehand had a couple of opportunities still available. Not wanting to break the streak of eating almost solely at the Aria, we went back to hit up Javier’s. Super hip and far too cool for us (even on a Sunday night) they shoved us in a table in the back and stopped by as infrequently as possible. It’s hard to judge a place on its service when they’re closing within the hour, but it was pretty rough. We only got to enjoy half of our (incredibly fresh and flavorful) chips and salsa, before they were taken away while we were enjoying our appetizer of the (not pictured) Queso Fundido. Far from the traditional, gooey and flavorful dip, it was more a plate of melted monterey jack cheese with some roasted onions, mushrooms, and chiles mixed in. The tortillas served on the side were stale (possibly cooked earlier in the week or off-site) and did the dip no favors. I was looking forward to returning to the delicious chips and salsa afterwards, but as I mentioned earlier, they were taken away.

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My wife’s entree was the “Milanesa de Pollo” (Chicken Milanese) one of the “Especiales de la Casa” (House Specialties). It was served with pure de papas (the mashed potatoes featured above) and chile en rajas, featured closer to the camera. The chicken and mashed potatoes were fine, nothing special, certainly not deserving an esteemed location as a house special. The standout was the cheesy, sweet, and spicy chile en rajas, a dish I wasn’t previously familiar with. Smoked and grilled chiles, with fresh corn and grilled green pepper, all mixed with a queso fresco and topped with cotija cheese. It was an excellent side dish and deserved far more from its compatriots.

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Unfortunately, my dish was wildly uneven as well. I ordered the Trio de Enchilades del Mar, featuring one crab, lobster, and shrimp enchilada, each topped with their own sauce and filled with their own fillings. At least, that’s how it was described. It ended up all melding together into a citrusy, green chile flavor, that was again, fine. The standouts were the fresh, succulent shrimp and huge chunks of fresh, jumbo lump crab meat. With proteins this delicious and fresh, something far more expressive should have come through the dish. The tortillas and sour cream and shredded radish and BLACK OLIVES(?) all just seemed to be sitting around, waiting for their turn to either be thrown out or on this dish. It was so strange for me to have such a wide variance in quality of ingredients on such a plate, but it was unfortunately the case. Again, none of it was particularly bad, it just didn’t seem to want to come together to work cohesively.

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The true MVP of the night (other than the truly delicious chips and salsa) was the Fried Ice Cream for dessert. A softball-sized orb of homemade vanilla bean ice cream sat completely studded with corn flakes, tortilla pieces, and peanuts atop a salad bowl made of fried dough covered in sugar, cinnamon, and honey. A giant melty ball of crunch and sweet, this was everything I’ve ever wanted in fried ice cream and more. This was the poster that the dessert of the same name that I ate growing up used to keep on its ceiling. This is the dessert that the dessert I’d thought I’d enjoyed previously only fantasized of being. This is “Las Vegas” in a dessert: too big, too sweet, too crunchy, too much, much too much, but oh so sinfully good. Also enjoyed, but not pictured or truly recommended, were the drinks (the Javier’s Martini on the rocks, a tequila mix with citrus that was fairly standard and a Jalapeno Margarita that would have benefitted from being far spicier and less sweet).

So if you find yourself wandering the Aria some night, long after the other restaurants have closed and you have a hole in your stomach the size of a volleyball that smells faintly of fried ice cream, then stop on down to Javier’s and order yourself one. I can make no promises on how many chips and how much salsa you’ll get, so eat quickly!

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